Mali: New Fighting Makes a Quick French Withdrawal Less Likely
Malian soldiers look on as weapons and munitions seized from radical Islamist rebels, are displayed at the French army base in Gao, Mali, February 24, 2013. (AP Photo)
February 27, 2013
| Security
| Africa
French President Francois Hollande says he'll begin to withdraw French troops from Mali in March, but the Islamist militants there are far from defeated and French troops are facing stiff resistance from heavily armed Islamist fighters and guerrilla-style attacks. Paris is thus facing the reality that it will need to keep its troops in the country for many more months and possibly years if it wants to truly defeat the Islamist rebels and prevent them from resuming their effort to seize control of the country.
France sent troops to Mali last month when it appeared that radical Islamist militants who took control of the northern half of the country in the spring of 2012 were moving southward and would overwhelm Mali’s weak army and seize control of the entire country. French officials say their troops have regained control of almost all of northern Mali but that the hardest part of the fighting remains, mostly in a mountainous region in northeast Mali.
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